Friday, December 31, 2010

Intellectual Propriety

Intellectual property law seeks to provide an incentive system that promotes creative work. Such works may then benefit the public and private persons. To come up with works of value, the right to distribute and appropriate the protected work is regulated by the State. In the process, however, regulation sometimes hinders the very creativity and innovation that were to be encouraged in the first place.

This gives rise to an issue regarding the balance between public and private interest. One of the best examples that illustrate the need for balance is the concepts of remix and mashup in the music industry. As defined, a remix is “an alternative version of a song made from an original version”, while a mash-up is “the result in which a vocal from one song is laid over the music from another.” These music trends are mainly popularized by DJs and urban dance and discotheque (club) genres.

Since remixing and mashing up involves using past work (which may be protected by copyright), there are certain questions on intellectual property that arise. Is the remixer free to distribute and appropriate his work, passing it off as his own? Or is it considered derivative work which requires prior permission under copyright law? Or will it fall under the fair use exception, meaning it may be allowed for, say, academic or non-commercial purposes? These concerns normally depend on how substantial the mixed work derived its inputs from past work: if yes, it may be considered derivative and subject to copyright; if not, the remixer may be allowed. Actually, mash-ups are now “changing the face of copyright laws”, with the introduction of copyleft and Creative Commons licenses.

For me, intellectual efforts to cultivate art must be paramount, to be encouraged and not stifled. The aim of intellectual property law to regulate and protect the rights holder must be keenly balanced against the legitimate interest of the public to encourage novel works of art. Without remixes and mash-ups, a rich vein of music genre that appeals to the youth and the metropolitan sector will be stifled. This is to be contrasted to the issue of plagiarism in the academic world where intellectual dishonesty and negligent work may negate the scholarly effort and initiative of the author. In remix and mashup, the resulting work can be considered already new and creative music which at the same time harps on familiar tunes and notes derived from past work. It is an intentional move to use and enrich such work; the result is the development of the world of music. In plagiarism, the resulting work is more often the output of not meeting the discipline required for true scholarship (especially given stringent deadlines) and improper attribution (and lately, thanks to technology, from haphazard cut-and-paste). In contrast, here the matter of any malicious intent is irrelevant.

In sum, intellectual property law should put a stop to intellectual impropriety, and not sincere efforts to advance artistic creativity.

Richmund C. Sta. Lucia, Post # 6

*An interesting documentary on the topic is "Walking on Eggshells", a project for the seminar "Intellectual Property in the Digital Age" at Yale University. The webpages are as below:

Part 1/3 -

Part 2/3 -

Part 3/3 -





Thursday, December 30, 2010

Copycat Shows

Roughly defined, intellectual property refers to the grant of exclusive rights to certain owners with regard to the use of incorporeal property not traditionally protected by law. This regime of intangible property protection is primarily an incentive for intellectual creativity.

In our jurisdiction, there are three mechanisms of protection provided by law for intellectual property. The first is patent where, for a limited time period, the inventor is granted exclusive rights in exchange for public disclosure after the lapse of such period. The second is trademark whose important feature is to provide distinction from other similar brands. This fosters healthy competition that engenders productivity and development of new technology. The third is copyright where the author of an original work is granted exclusive rights with regard to such original work. But unlike the other two, the protection afforded by copyright does not require the registration of such original work. For purposes of this blog, the focus would be on copyright.

Over the Christmas break, I was hooked in watching the US TV series The Big Bang Theory. In this particular show, the creator includes what they call a vanity card at the end at the end of the episodes. It is just a quick flash of a statement or a joke. In one episode, the vanity card after the credits read that in another country, a very similar show called The Theorists is on air. Upon research, I found out that the country is Belarus and the show has the same combination of characters and the script was almost a literal Russian translation of the US version. The show copycat show got canceled after a few episodes.

On the top of my head, I think that maybe because the show's being open to the public, contributed to the easier infringement of the show. But then again, wouldn't the public nature help in showcasing the originality of the first one produced and the aping of the other?

Then I remembered local shows. There was a time when Showtime was suspended for 20 days because of a comment Rosanna Roces made and the show Magpasikat took over its timeslot temporarily. The format of the two shows were very similar. Even the cast and crew were the same. An issue was then raised on whether or not the replacement show should be suspended as well since it somehow serves to circumvent the penalty meted.

Copyright was not an issue then because the shows were aired on the same network. But that got me thinking. How about Willing Willie and Wowowee? The show is practically the same. Had the MTRCB ruled that Magpasikat should also be suspended for being similar, could that doctrine be extended to Wowowee for copyright protection for its glaring similarities with Willing Willie? Perhaps I'll just standby until the P127M suit filed by ABS-CBN against Willing Willie is resolved.

- Evangelista, Emmanuel Benedict C. (Blog Entry No. 6)

Usher v. Homer Simpson

Usher is being charged by a group of Mississippi DJ’s of plagiarism. He allegedly based a few lines (both the lyrics and melody) of OMG! from a song sung by the fictional Homer Simpson in a 2003 episode of the Simpsons. Usher’s song goes “Honey got a booty like pow, pow, pow. Honey got some boobies like wow, oh, wow,” while Homer’s is as follows: “Christmas in December wow, wow, wow! Give me tons of presents now, now, now!” To listen to the mash-up of the Usher-Homer song, go to

So is Usher guilty of plagiarism, which is a form of copyright infringement? Under Sec 172.1 of the Intellectual Property Code, “musical compositions, with or without words” are among the works entitled to copyright protection. Meanwhile, there is infringement whenever a person carries out the acts granted exclusively to the copyright owner under Sec 177, which includes “reproduction of the work or substantial portion of the work” and “dramatization, translation, adaptation, abridgment, arrangement or other transformation of the work” without the owner’s authorization. Although the similarity is admittedly substantial, Usher can take refuge in the fact that the only standard for copyright protection is originality, which was explained by the SC in Ching Kian Chuan v. CA to mean that the work be “made with the creator’s own skill, judgment and labor, without directly copying or evasively imitating the work of another.” Our law allows parallel creation; therefore there will only be infringement if Usher’s work is not original. The question now is, is it?

If you are for the defense of Usher, you can argue that it was such an old episode and that it is highly unlikely that a man, such as him, watches cartoon reruns. Also, there are so many songs out there which repeat words in three’s, and the reason why they sound similar is because the words were more said than sung. On the flip side, this isn’t the first time Usher has been accused of stealing another artist’s work. Recently, a songwriter accused him and Alicia Keys of swiping her song ‘Caught Up’ for his ‘Confessions’ album. I know that a man is presumed innocent until proven guilty, but it does make you wonder...

Katrina Sy, 6th Blog Entry

Monday, December 27, 2010

Free Music?

Sometime in early 2000, Napster, an online peer-to-peer MP3 file sharing service, went down after facing copyright infringement charges. Artists including Metallica, Dr. Dre and Madonna filed similar suits as their songs were made available for download on Napster even before their official release. Recording companies including A&M records likewise filed charges. Although it did not end well for Napster, it has definitely changed the music industry, the net and the way we see intellectual property rights. The ever-persistent question lies, just because we can download all the music we want for free, should we?

I’m not sure how people download free music nowadays, I was never known for being tech savvy. When I got my first ipod, I just gave it to a friend who filled it up with over 2000 songs. I have no idea where and how he got all that, all I know is I'm happy I didn't pay a single centavo to get all that music. I recently learned that the popular Limewire is now also closed by virtue of a court order, but I’m pretty sure there are numerous creative ways of still getting music online for free. Either way, there’s always youtube where they even have videoke versions complete with subtitles.

I'm thankful for all the free music and information the internet now makes available for us. Its all very revolutionary, changing the very way we do things. But there's always a part of me that wonders whether there's something wrong somewhere. If I physically hand my Michael Buble CD to a friend for free, that's perfectly legal. But If that friend uploads all the songs and shares it to another friend through an online service, somehow it gets complicated. Right now, I dont feel any guilt in having an ipod full of christmas songs I never paid for. But it makes me think, should I?

Ma. Anna Katrina C. Eustaquio, Entry No. 6

image from:

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Fashion Piracy: Yes, We Should Think About It

This post is in memory of that beautiful Cath Kidston bag I saw at one of the outlet stores at Camp John Hay this Christmas but was Php 1,500 short to make the purchase. I think it's a bad sign that I can't even afford what might be a decent knock-off. Well, the seller said it's real but the price and the "made in china" tag made me think otherwise. Anyway, this got me thinking about fashion piracy in general:

In 1994, the Philippines, along with the other members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) signed the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, or the TRIPS Agreement, to ensure that international intellectual property rights are made uniform by setting a minimum level of protection that each country must provide. The Agreement’s provision on design rights, Article 25(2), states:

Each Member shall ensure that requirements for securing protection for textile designs, in particular in regard to any cost, examination or publication, do not unreasonably impair the opportunity to seek and obtain such protection.

The connotation of a textile is any cloth or goods produced by weaving, knitting, or felting and, so far, the Philippines has yet to meet its obligations in providing protection for its fashion industry, leaving many designers to face the murky waters of obtaining protection for their designs by themselves. The lack of legal protection is not just a problem in the Philippines, but the world over. It seems like as long as you have a designer that employs cheap labor in developing countries, there's a widespread piracy problem. And while some of may not care much for the vagaries fashion, the issue of piracy is something I'm sure we all have an opinion about.

Anyway my nose and fingers are about to fall off from the cold. Happy holidays from Baguio! :)

╔═════════ ೋღ❤ღೋ ═════════╗
ೋ ❤❤❤~~Merry Christmas~~❤❤❤ ೋ
╚═════════ ೋღ❤ღೋ ═════════╝

Friday, December 24, 2010

Nemo dat quod non habet (You cannot give what you do not have): err... who's to say you don't "have" an ebook that's in your file directory?

A law school buddy I've been hanging out with during the holiday break was surprised to learn that J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series were actually well-written. Initially, I thought he was reading the original copy of the book --- he's more of a library person, you see (e.g. he claims he prefers to work on soft copies, but after I shared to him an ebook on international law, he proceeds to borrow the original hard copy from the UP library). Anyway, he was reading Harry Potter from an ebook he downloaded online. Yes, he didn't purchase it.

Envious at his leisure reading, I decided to engage in some educational reading myself. My ebook of choice is Economic Analysis of the Law: Selected Readings, edited by Wittman. The editor's introduction was quite promising: the collection supposedly creates a "unified vision of the law," which is "in contrast to law school, where torts, contracts, and corporate law, etc., are treated as completely separate fields, each with their own logic."

From the articles on intellectual property in the book, I quote this clincher:

"With intellectual property, the marginal cost of spreading an idea, record, or book is very low, especially in comparison to the cost of producing the first copy. Just think how expensive it is to produce the first copy of Microsoft Word (trademark) and how cheap it is to reproduce. . .William Landes and Richard Posner discuss the optimal protection of intellectual property rights given the costs and benefits inherent in the particular situation.

If there are no intellectual property rights, then the incentive to produce the song. book, etc. is greatly reduced but the intellectual property that is produced will be spread optimally. Subject to certain caveats, greater protection of intellectual property rights will increase the production of intellectual property, but will result in less than an optimal distribution. An important caveat is that if copyright protection were too expansive, say ideas were copyrightable, then the production of new ideas could be reduced because of greatly increased transaction costs (negotiation with the original holder of the idea or litigation in court to determine whether the new idea was really new). Not surprisingly then, ideas, plots, and book titles cannot be copyrighted. Landes and Posner not only consider the general outlines of copyright protection, but also explain many details (e.g., why music copyright is stronger then the copyright for books, why copyright holds for a particular length of time after an author’s death, and why there is a fair use doctrine)." (emphasis added)
So I kinda browsed through the entire section, but didn't actually delve into the nitty-gritty portions. Admittedly, I was more interested in other parts of the book on the environment. (I'm required to write a paper for my envi class.)

But the above excerpt makes me ponder about sharing and reading ebooks for academic purpose. Does reading for academic purposes have a more legitimate claim on fair use over reading for leisure purposes? Don't all reading have academic value? What is an author's incentive for writing a book? I believe it concerns artistic expression or academic distinction more than money, and it's the publisher who's more interested in the big bucks. But why should a publisher be entitled to earn large margins? And what is the economic incentive for purchasing v. downloading ebooks? I think, when it comes to ebooks, the real market forces should be allowed to thrive. No copyright = free flow of ideas = more information to work on = more information. More production, more distribution, more production.

Salma F. Angkaya
Entry # 6

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Just wanna share...

As a kid who grew up in a province 487 kilometers away from manila, I already got used to taking long bus trips. Before, it used to take us 15 bumpy hours to get to Manila. The roads then were not paved and concretized. The buses then were too small and too crowded.

Nowadays, taking a bus ride from Manila-Tuguegarao (Tuguegarao-Manila) is much more comfortable compared to before – buses now have what you call a sleeper bus where you could actually lie on your back and sleep; seats are wider, softer, and are fully reclineable; some buses even have “Road Attendants” much like FAs. They have got food meals on-board, TV/DVD, a comfort room, blankets etc.

And just recently, I saw on TV, that some bus companies now even have wifi on-board! It was explained that they use broadband wifi routers mounted on the buses. These routers then pick up the signals that are transmitted from the communication towers they pass by while on the road. So, with a laptop and a wifi-ready mobile phone, one could just simply connect and go online. I could already imagine fb status and tweets like:

@Just passed by SLEX toll gate :)
@...Petron SLEX!!!
@bus had to stop to let some cows and carabaos pass… :)
@oh, more cows… :(


These buses, unfortunately, just travel south. My trusted Victory Liner is yet to come up with something like this!

merry CHRISTmas everyone!!!

The Gatekeeper and the Piracy Den

Google has promised earlier this month that it would help weed out copyright vioations committed on YouTube and its other services. The company has pledged to respond to complaints on copyright violations within 24 hours. Google also said that it will introduce tools to monitor copyright violators. According to them, the tools include countermeasures to allow people to challenge copyright complaints. In addition to this, Google plans to police the websites in its online advertising network more closely. All the means mentioned by Google boil down to increasing vigilance on the assumption that increased vigilance will result in the reduction of cases of copyright violations.
The previous practice of Google to counter piracy was merely by deleting or removing the pirated material on the websites. This practice has been sanctioned as sufficient by a US federal court in a case instituted by Viacom Inc. against Google and YouTube.
I think Google should commit to do more than this. I think the company has a very crucial role in proliferating online piracy. Hence, it must bear a huge responsibility upon its shoulders to curb it. While I recognize the need to loosen the boundaries for sharing intellectual and creative oututs in tune with globalization, I also see the greater need to protect these outputs as they are quickly becoming the most valued commodity of our time.
I believe that Google needs to adopt a more proactive method of stopping copyright violations such as putting up a mechanism that has the capability of detecting copyrights even before the materials are uploaded on the websites. Google may also be stricter in securing the integrity of the identity of its users and uploaders to enable the company to track down copyright violators.
Happy Holidays! :-D
Source: Associated Press, December 2, 2010
Entry No. 6

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

(#6) IPR: Of Ownership and Social Justice

Those who copy and reproduce/distribute copyrighted materials like movies, music, software, etc., and make them available for free or at a much cheaper price are actually more of the modern-day Robinhood. People patronize and support them. That's why despite efforts to combat pirated dvds, cds, etc., the authorities still could not eradicate them. Besides, it's easier now because netizens themselves can just download what they want. It's like an uprising against the establishment which protects and monopolizes.

They say that copyright gives incentives and rewards for creativity. ROI, what's-in-it-for-me - that's understandable. But i think it's open source and creative commons that foster creativity and innovation more because other people can improve on others' creations. In addition, it is equitable because it makes
information available to those who cannot afford them.

Although it may seem like it's capitalism versus socialism all over again, it's not necessarily the case because I'm sure that creators can have other means of gaining compensation or realizing profit from their work aside from copyright, which is actually better for competition.

Luisa Manalaysay
Entry No. 6

What's in A Name?

Today’s Simbang Gabi features the Gospel of St. Luke on the Birth of St. John the Baptist[1]. Elizabeth, then old and sterile[2], gave birth to a baby boy. Probably intrigued by how a woman beyond child-bearing years nevertheless gives birth, neighbors and relatives flocked Elizabeth’s house. When the baby was eight days old, he was to be circumcised and named. The relatives were insisting on naming the child “Zacharia,” the name of the child’s father. Elizabeth objected, wanting to name her son “John”. Zacharia, who was then mute[3], was consulted by the relatives, for one in their family was named “John”. Zacharia asked for a writing tablet, where he signified that the name of their son is “John”.

The Gospel shows us how important our names are. It is one way by which we identify ourselves. According to our Parish Priest, our names show two things: 1) who is the most influential or powerful in the family; and 2) who is important to that influential person in the family. Say your name is Vicente III and you were named by your father. It means that your father is the most influential in the family and that your grandfather, Vicente Sr., is the most important person to your father. Applying this to St. John’s case, Zacharia, being the man of the family in 1st century B.C. Judea, was the most powerful person in the family. And what moved him to name his son John despite having no one in the family having that name? It was God through the angel Gabriel. In turn, it was actually God who named John “John”.

The importance of names cannot be more obvious with our law on intellectual property. Trade marks and trade names are acquired by having them registered with the Intellectual Property Office.[4] However, names of living people are not registrable.[5] Imagine if names can be registered, the registrant of the name “John” will be flocked by millions of parents who would want to name their children “John”. And we know that it is not the aim of intellectual property to concentrate ownership of intellectual property to one person, but for society to benefit from its use. And if the name “John” should be owned, it most rightly should be God, and no amount of registration will trump proof of His “vested right”.

The non-registrability of names should not however hamper our creativity. We should continue thinking of novel names, and stop naming children on whim. Children named Jumong – a 19th century BC Korean name – during the 21st century AD just shows that television is the most important or influential thing in our society today. We should take hint on how important names are that it even prompted an angel of God to visit a human just to ask him to give his son a particular name.

On this light, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

Kate Lomoljo
Entry No. 6

[1] Luke 1:67-79

[2] Luke 1:7

[3] Luke 1:20

[4] Section 122, RA 8293

[5] Section 123(c), RA 8293

Digital Millenium Copyright Act

photo source:

WE have a problem with our internet connection at home.

At 3am, when everyone is asleep, I am sometimes awake. This is especially true on Wednesdays, when I prepare for the 4-hour long class in the evening. I expect to read the assigned cases online without interruption.

But I have to reset the internet every so often. After complaining many times to our internet provider, one representative finally admitted that the problem is that squatters, or to be politically correct, informal settlers, are tapping into the internet lines that lead to our house.

It sucks, I know. But for my wife, it’s like she’s forced into withdrawal. Her current occupation requires her to use the internet when it is fastest. She is up at wee hours working so hard… watching her favorite tv series online. She even has a post-it beside the computer monitor to track the episodes for each series she watches. She says it’s bad enough that mega video is such a stickler to the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act), which increases the sanctions for copyright infringement on the internet. Mega video, as everyone probably knows, hosts videos uploaded by users. And according to my wife, if not for the time limit, mega video videos are the most convenient to watch. That is, if you can catch the video before it is taken out due to infringement. The wonderful people over at mega video, in order not to be sued for infringement, follow the DMCA. This means mega video removes infringing material once the copyright owner requests it. But on the other hand, it is reported that mega video pays the users who post videos that get a lot of traffic.

Good thing, says my wife, that other video hosting sites are not such sticklers to the DMCA, or that copyright owners are not being very vigilant, or that users who post infringing material are so vigilant.

It seems the informal settlers/internet thieves are doing a better job at curbing consumption of videos that infringe copyrights.

And so my wife, who has since resorted to watching her shows at ungodly hours is forced to go to sleep.

Christopher John P. Lao
Entry # 6

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cold Christmas

I commune with the laborers who were not given their thirteenth month pay this month. This benefit, I think, is expressly accorded by law as a reward for the lowly laborer so that he can bring food to his family's christmas table, so that even for a day, they will know how it is to be happy. Jesus died, after all, for all to be happy.

I don't understand how some employers can be so callous and insensitive during Christmas season. If there is a particular class of persons who should enjoy the holidays the most, it should be the laborers. They worked their asses off for their bosses, get yelled at, disrespected and pushed around by their employers the whole year. Is is them, I think, who should enjoy Christmas the most.

That's why they should be given their thirteenth month pay; this is the only time where they can truly enjoy, away from the constant pressures of work and grumpy employers. In line with this, I am proposing to the Highest Order above to send down lightning to anyone, who despite having the resources, refuses to give his employees what is just and due to them.

In the meantime, we'll just be having champorado for noche buena.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Green IT

A study showed that two Google searches emits the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle which is around 10-15 grams of CO2. Google of course denies the study saying that a typical less-than-a-second search would only cause 0.2 grams of CO2.

Whatever facts you believe in, the inevitable truth is that information technology, much to our disbelief or unawareness, contributes to global warming.

Much of the ignorance on the subject is attributable to the fact that unlike cars or factories that visibly emit smoke, computers are silent, odorless, and most of the time confined in air conditioned rooms making the heat produced by the electric processes inside the computer virtually untraceable.

Hence, Green IT or Green computing which is the use of environmentally sustainable IT practices. Simple things like setting your computer to hibernate when it's not in use saves electricity and in turn reduces heat emissions can go a long way in saving the environment.

paul obmina entry no. 5

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Legislative Intent

Last summer, during the campaign period, I promised my constituents that I am going to pass a code containing the updated version of our ordinances from 1991 onwards. Should this materialize, law enforcers would have a clearer guide on what are the rights and obligations of the residents of and everyone else within the territorial jurisdiction of Lingayen, Pangasinan. I do intend to make good my promise to my constituents but as early as now, I am already encountering problems.

My biggest obstacle is ensuring that I cover all the ordinances. The thing is, because of a typhoon that hit our town in the late 90’s, the old Sangguniang Bayan Hall was badly damaged, along with its records. Even until now, not all the records have been reconstituted, leaving gaps in documentation.

Fortunately, in one of the seminars I attended, I was advised that if I would not be able to complete the records, I should start fresh; that since more than 10 years have elapsed and that our town has already undergone major changes, I should assume that the lost ordinances are already obsolete. If the missing ordinances are still relevant, we'll just re-enact them.

I was also informed that I should seek help from the National Computer Center of UP. According to the person who advised me, I could write a letter request for a software which would tabulate the activities of the local legislative body complete from attendance, committee reports, resolutions passed and ordinances enacted. It would create a database for all those details and at the same time make it readily uploadable in the internet. With this, my successor would no longer have to go through the tedious process of sifting the records manually. In addition, this would be of help in ensuring transparency, accuracy of records, and efficiency.

I’m hoping that a computerized legislative records system would be one of the legacies I get to leave our municipality. Next on my list of targets is to find a source of funding for the Sanggunian's own LCD projector so that committee and public hearings for ordinances would produce less waste of paper.

Now I know what I want for Christmas.

- Evangelista, Emmanuel Benedict C. (Blog Entry No. 5)


For me, bacon is one of the best comfort food around. It's simple and it's sinful. Classic comfort food. There's just something about pork fried on more fat. Fat is good. Food becomes richer with fat.

Bacon is the perfect example of an otherwise bland food that becomes great because it has fat. Take out the fat and all you have is a regular ham. The fat layers between the meat is what makes it special. Try frying a slice of ham without fat. It just won't work. Bacon is at it's best when deep fried to a crisp. Just the way I like it. Add some fried rice and fried egg, and I'm a happy camper.

The best thing about bacon is that it goes with anything. It's really a versatile food. It can be a main ingredient or it can be the side dish that makes the dish complete. I tell you it does go with anything. Of course there are the usual stuff like pizza, burger, silog, and etc. I've tried bacon ice cream and it was good. I've tried chocolate covered bacon and it was also good. Bacon over mussels with some chorizo cream sauce is simply delicious.

I love bacon. In fact, I'm going to have some. Writing about it made me crave for some baconsilog.

For educational purposes

“The simplest schoolboy is now familiar with truths for which Archimedes would have given his life.”

~ Ernest Renan (Souvenirs d'enfance et de jeunesse, 1883)


Philippine society places a premium on education. Most Filipino parents consider education as one of the most important legacies they can impart to their children, and are willing to make enormous sacrifices to send their children to school. Despite budget cuts (#$%@!!!), the Philippine government also extends certain privileges to the education sector and formulates policies that are intended to promote education. One example is the tax exemption for real property used by non-stock non-profit educational instutitions, actually, directly and exclusive "for education purposes." Another example (which I believe is the law usually alluded to by our professor in Law and ICT) is the exception carved out for education's sake in Philippine copyright law: FAIR USE.

And then there's the Book Publishing Industry Development Act (RA 8047 ), which allows "tax and duty-free importation of books or raw materials to be used in book publishing." RA 8047 provides that the Philippines’ national book policy is to reaffirm and ensure the country’s commitment to the UNESCO principle of free flow of information and other related provisions as embodied in the 1950 Florence Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials, to which the Philippines acceded in 1952. The treaty has provided for duty-free importation of books to guarantee the free flow of “educational, scientific, and cultural materials” between countries and declared that imported books should be duty-free.

But foreign books are still expensive!!!

And then came e-books.

I've actually tried buying a used paperback copy of a foreign book I'm interested in from Amazon, but apparently the seller doesn't deliver to countries other than the US. So I thought about buying an e-book.

But foreign e-books are still expensive!!! The cheapest foreign e-book is about $10. That's about a 120-page book. The price of e-books are proportional to the thickness and academic value of the book. I just can't afford the $150++ e-book I need.

It boggles me. We're supposedly in the information age, but as the law of economics goes, higher demand, higher prices (I got it right this time I hope). More than half a century since the Florence Agreement, and we're anywhere but near the idea of free flow of information. Sure, there are lots of available information on the internet. Thank God for SSRN, I could at least do some rough research work at home. But the really good information is on WESTLAW, LEXISNEXIS, JSTOR, etc. (no point linking here because the sites require passwords).

Now... Going back to FAIR USE. Section 185.1 of the Intellectual Property Code (RA 8293) states:

185.1. The fair use of a copyrighted work for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching including multiple copies for classroom use, scholarship, research, and similar purposes is not an infringement of copyright x x x

So... out of desperation, taking 185.1 into consideration + the Florence agreement + my educational purpose, I decided to ... download. You get what I mean. And thank God for the international network of desperate AND generous scholars, I got the e-books I need. Now, my friends refer to me as the resident librarian. Hey, I'm just the simple schoolgirl.

... Or maybe, we're back to Archimedes' time, and I'm up for the big kill.

Salma F. Angkaya

Entry #5